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Shape it baby! This young ceramicist is breaking the mould with her designs
Pots that rock!

Nicole Parnis

At just 23 years old, freelance sculptor and ceramicist Hannah Galea's work is gaining traction and it is being snapped up by art collectors both in Malta and abroad. Well-loved for her signature "faces" series of pots, Hannah's functional and ornamental pieces are making quite the impact in the arts scene for their unusual aesthetic that is both playful and dark. 

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Most recently, Hannah's work has been noticed by the Corinthia Group who commissioned the designer to make a number of candle holders. Chalice Bar has also commissioned the young artist to create cocktail glasses for the sophisticated establishment. Some of her well-loved cocktail glasses have even made it as far as the Bahamas for a birthday party, and we can see why! 

We had a chat to the designer herself to learn a little more about the creative process and what her job as a ceramicist entails. Here's what she had to share with Guide Me Malta. 

Hey Hannah! We love your creations, they're so unique! When and how did you decide you wanted to be a ceramicist?

"I discovered my love for ceramics when I was reading for my Bachelor in Fine Arts at MCAST. I find that it is a very therapeutic, versatile and expressive medium, which one can use in its natural form (as a fired functional or ornamental piece) or as a starting medium to be cast in a completely different material such as cement."

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What does your work entail?

"My work is a mixture of sculptural and ornamental works, but, recently, I’ve been enjoying merging the two to create pottery that is both different and quirky. To create the jars with the faces, I first roll out slabs of clay using a slab roller. Next I smoothen out any texture acquired from the slab roller using a bit or water and a metal kidney (a flat blade). I, then, place the slabs of clay in two semi sphere moulds and leave them there for around 2 hours. After this, I assemble the two spheres to make a whole one and set it aside."

"I, then, start sculpting the lid feature, which is usually a head, by getting a ball of clay and modelling using my fingers, dentistry tools and a blade. Once this is done I set it aside and go back to my clay sphere and smoothen it and cut out the lid freehand. I stick the head to the lid and smoothen it out. For the bottom of the sphere, I roll out a coil, attach either end together to create a ring and stick it to the bottom of the jar. This will act as a sturdy stand. The piece is finally set aside until it is bone dry, which usually takes up to a week, depending on the weather."

"After this, it is put into the kiln and taken up to 980 degrees Celsius. This usually takes around 2 days before it comes back down to room temperature and I can open it. I then dip the piece in a coloured glaze of my preference and make sure to keep the bottom of the jar clean (without glaze) and put it back in the kiln. This time I take the temperature up to 1080 degrees. This again takes two days until I can open it again."

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Interesting! What is your creative process like and what inspires your work?

"When it comes to sculpting, I usually have a quick flip through Pinterest or Instagram and then sketch out a few ideas. I usually start out with a vague idea of what I want, which results in something completely different to what my initial idea was! I have recently moved into a workshop with Matthew Micallef, the extremely talented candle maker of Coronation Candles, which has had an incredibly positive effect on my creative process. For me, having another creative around working on their own projects really drives you to work harder. We also occasionally collaborate which is pretty awesome!"

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How would you describe your work?

"I think my work is fun, daring and can be rather unusual at times. But the main scope of my work is to see how far my imagination can go and to create pieces that can be both functional and a piece of art."

We totally agree! How do you sell your work?

"I sell my work through Instagram and Facebook for the time being, but would soon like to move to selling my work on Etsy. I also try to take part in art fairs and events to get as much exposure as possible. I currently sell some of my work at Cekcik in Valletta."

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What is the best part of your work?

"The best part of my work is that I am able to do something I love every day in a gorgeous workshop with great company."

Thank you Hannah! We can't wait to see your new creations! 

20th August 2019


Nicole Parnis
Written by
Nicole Parnis
Nicole Parnis is a writer and lifestyle blogger with a passion for music and a penchant for anything retro. She loves nothing more than rummaging for new vinyl records on a Sunday with her chihuahua Frankie.

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